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Regional house prices rise - but your home is still worth less than a year ago

PUBLISHED: 18:02 04 January 2019

Houses in Cromer; house prices rose in the region in the three months to December, states a new report. Pic: www.gettyimages.co.uk

Houses in Cromer; house prices rose in the region in the three months to December, states a new report. Pic: www.gettyimages.co.uk

House prices rose by 2% in the three months to December in East Anglia - bucking the national trend which saw values go up by a mere 0.5%, the smallest increase in almost six years.

Nick Taylor, Hadley Taylor. Pic: www.edp24.co.ukNick Taylor, Hadley Taylor. Pic: www.edp24.co.uk

However, although values rose in the region, they were down by 1% compared with the same period in 2017 - equating to just over £2,200 wiped off the average house price-tag.

Uncertainty over Brexit was to blame with house prices falling across the UK by 0.7% between November and December according to the latest report by the Nationwide.

Around the county, where the average house is now worth £228,014, property professionals gave their forecasts. Nick Taylor, chairman of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, a consortium of 32 members, and an agent with Hadley Taylor in Norwich, predicted no change in prices in 2019. “It’s fair to say that there are some serious headwinds coming for the housing market.

“Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has predicted a 30% drop in house prices if we come out of the EU with no deal. Seeing as he’s at the front of the queue of people trying to force a second referendum, we should take his comments with a huge pinch of salt.

Keith Hood, a financial advisor with Warners Financial Services. Pic: www.edp24.co.ukKeith Hood, a financial advisor with Warners Financial Services. Pic: www.edp24.co.uk

“With the cost of borrowing so low and the demand for housing so high it is very hard to see how house prices could fall very much at all.”

Louis de Soissons, head of the residential team at Savills Norwich office, said: “For the East of England, we are anticipating that house prices will remain flat over the course of 2019. This compares to a fall of 2% which we have forecast for London and 1.5% growth across the UK as a whole.

“Looking further ahead we are forecasting house price growth of 9.3% in the East of England over the five years to 2023. The Norfolk property market has remained relatively robust. Demand has been constant and we ended 2018 on a very positive note. The core reasons for moving to the county – great schools, connectivity to London and a more relaxed way of life – have outweighed any wider concerns.”

Chartered Surveyor Peter Hornor, partner at Brown & Co, said: “There is still strength in the residential market in Norwich and Norfolk and throughout the price ranges.”

Local financial experts were, however, divided on the issue. Ian Goody, chief executive officer from PFG, Premier Financial Group, based in Norwich, said: “As local mortgage brokers arranging around 1,500 mortgages a year, we have not witnessed any evidence of Brexit having a significant impact on the housing market. Our current business levels remain the same or better than this time last year.”

However, Keith Hood, a financial advisor with Warners Financial Services in Wymondham, predicted prices would fall by 1-2%. He said: “Some buyers are perhaps thinking that prices may fall, so are holding back. Others have concerns about their employment or the economy in general so again are sitting on their hands. Assuming we have some clarity after March I think that activity will pick up, but prior to that its likely to remain subdued.

“On a positive note borrowing money is still very cheap and the mortgage market remains very competitive. In terms of house prices I expect them to fall slightly due to lack of activity until the Brexit outcome is known. Once our direction is clear people will adapt as they always do and although it’s a very difficult time to make predictions, I think we will end 2019 with prices slightly lower but recovering.”

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